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Egypt daily points to Taiwan as lesson in rapid development

TAIPEI--Egypt's most widely circulating daily Al-Ahram said in an editorial Saturday that the country should learn from Taiwan's rapid industrialization and growth during the latter half of the 20th century.

In the editorial, the quasi-official newspaper's deputy editor-in-chief Kamal Gaballa said Egypt's newly elected President Mohammed Morsi's recent state visit to Beijing resulted only in eight unsubstantial bilateral agreements.

Instead, the Morsi administration should tap into Taiwan's experience, even if such a move infuriates Beijing, Gaballa suggested.

He said the benefits Egypt are able to reap from China are now limited. Morsi's administration needs a new friend like Taiwan that has true strength and whose successful economic development experience has benefited China, he said.

Gaballa noted that Taiwan was one of the “Four Asian Dragons” during the 1970s and 80s, and is currently a major investor in China and in the Southeast Asian region.

Taiwan's politics and democratic reforms are also a great model for Egypt, he wrote in the editorial.

If the Egyptian government truly wishes to rebuild itself economically and politically, it should learn from Taiwan — an economic powerhouse that has strong foreign reserves and a leading high-tech sector, he said.

Al-Ahram is Egypt's largest news organization and the publisher of the Middle East's oldest newspaper — the Al-Ahram, which has a daily circulation of more than one million copies.

The group's Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies is one of the leading think tanks in Egypt. The studies the center publishes are influential among policymakers in Egypt and other Arab countries.

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